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RUNNING HEAD: Ethics in Criminal Justice Administration

Ethics in Criminal Justice Administration
Steven Griffiths
Nicholas Barbella


Ethics and Professional Behavior
In the world of law enforcement and criminal justice alike, there are two prevalent entities that
are like the proverbial glue that hold everything in place ethics, and professional behavior. What are
ethics? The public trust in their law enforcement agency is to perform their assigned duties and
responsibilities in a manner that is both ethical and in line with the standards of the department which are
essential to the overall effective nature of crime control, and community policing. In the world of criminal
justice administration ethics are what separate doing right from wrong. The aspect of effective crime
control comes from a collaborative working relationship between administrators and line staff.
Professional behavior is what sets us apart from the worker at McDonalds who smokes pot on his lunch
break. Administrators act professional because they are professional, and their carried attitude is exactly
how they want those under them to act.
As it stands right now the world does not present itself to us in a transparent nature in regards to
moral terms. Often times the moral matter at hand is a mere disagreement among people of standing good
nature. Often time one and the same act is praised (morally), by some while condemned by others. Even
when we are not facing the moral conflicting claims of our peers we tend to have our own inner conflicts
as to what we need to do in a particular situation. More or less critical thinking is a base form of
judgment, meaning, it specifically is purposeful as a reflective judgment, be the reflection of an individual
or a policy. How we use critical thinking is how one comes to a decision or solves a problem, such as too
many officers working excessive overtime. It [critical thinking] solves the problem by stepping back and
judging what is perceived to be the right thing to do, but from a reflective standpoint. To put it simply, it
is a basic tool used by criminal justice administrators to evaluate incoming information. Take the basics
of critical thinking and toss in role of ethics and everything suddenly changes. Now you have to evaluate
information as a supervisor, but your solution to the problem cannot cross lines with other officers or the
general public, meaning you have to plan for the solution to serve the public trust without a compromise

Training in Law Enforcement Ethics
The best way to have your officers prepared to execute ethics in the line of duty is to have
training on ethics. The difference between department level training and outside entity training is that
from within a department you get someone who is only familiar with the term ethics, and its overall role
everyday on the job. An outside training agency makes it their business to be not only well versed in the
field of ethics and practical deployment but they have made it their career to be masters and professionals
in the field of law enforcement ethics. It is not always feasible to send everyone to a week-long seminar
on the subject. Often times it is more cost effective to find a company willing to come and train your
department over the course of 2 or 3 days, where it is the same type of training but brought to your front
door. Police professionals cannot simply think ethically; they must also act ethically. Ethics training
provides tools for addressing ethical problems, but the police professional must have the courage to act.
Responding to a particular situation has two components: reaction (emotions and thought) and action. The
law typically focuses on the action, that is, so long as the action complies with the law, the reason is
generally irrelevant. But ethics considers not only the action but also the motivation for the action. Thus,
doing the right thing for the wrong reason is not ethical. Police professionals aiming for ethical excellence
must also consider motives behind behavior. (Gleason, 2006.)
More importantly the areas of training that should be covered should be: Individual time
management, understanding departmental organization as it relates to the overall mission, and
communication between line staff, and upper echelon leaders. These areas are most important because
they all share the bridge of communication and understanding, as it pertains to all aspects of the job.
Individual time management is a professional ethic that everyone should have because it shows that you
take your job and its responsibilities seriously and in a professional manner. Knowing how to
communicate with your superiors, Always remember that communication is a two-way process and it is
quite possible that your boss has the same impression about your abilities to express yourself. It is easy to
get distracted while your boss is speaking. Perhaps he is explaining a new project to you. However, you
are already thinking about what problems the project may bring and whether you will get it completed on

time. Maybe he is explaining his ideas for changes in your department. ("Communicating With
Superiors ", 2011). Professional ethics in the workplace dictate that you be respectful when addressing
superiors, as well as the general public in any field of criminal justice. Knowing how to conduct yourself
in a professional criminal justice field will make or break your career and reputation. Exercising tact and
professionalism in all of your actions is always going to be the right choice.

Gleason, T. (2006). Ethics Training for Police. Retrieved from

Communicating with superiors . (2011). Retrieved from